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History: Robert Bosch

Apart from the alleviation of all kinds of hardship

Education and healthcare

Reading time: 8 minutes

From an early age, Robert Bosch had witnessed his parents’ concern for social issues and their work for the common good. His profitable business provided the financial basis for his mission, “apart from the alleviation of all kinds of hardship, to promote the moral, physical, and intellectual development of the people.”

Homeopathy and Robert Bosch Hospital

Robert Bosch nurtured the wish from an early age to support a homeopathic hospital, a field he had encountered as a child thanks to his parents. Working together with various homeopathic associations, he founded the “Stuttgarter Homöopathisches Krankenhaus GmbH” in 1915. However, the first world war and its repercussions prevented construction. Instead, Bosch offered the use of his newly completed “Bosch Light Plant” in Feuerbach as an emergency field hospital. It would be two years after it was completed before the plant was actually used for manufacturing Bosch products.

Artist’s impression of the Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart (1914). © Robert Bosch Stiftung
Artist’s impression of the Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart (1914). © Robert Bosch Stiftung
View of a patients’ room at the Robert Bosch Hospital. Robert Bosch is standing on the balcony (right) (1940).
View of a patients’ room at the Robert Bosch Hospital. Robert Bosch is standing on the balcony (right) (1940).
Robert Bosch at the opening ceremony of the hospital named for him (April 28, 1940).
Robert Bosch at the opening ceremony of the hospital named for him (April 28, 1940).
An external view of the Robert Bosch Hospital (1961).
An external view of the Robert Bosch Hospital (1961).

Social hardship

He felt driven to help ease the suffering caused by the first world war. Bosch did not wish to profit from the income generated by armaments contracts. In 1916, he donated 20 million German marks to the foundation for the construction of the Neckar Canal in Stuttgart. The interest generated by the foundation’s assets was handed to Stuttgart’s city authorities for emergency social aid.

Construction of the Neckar Canal near Heilbronn (1932). © ullsteinbild
Construction of the Neckar Canal near Heilbronn (1932). © ullsteinbild

Education

Robert Bosch showed a keen interest in education throughout his life. He viewed education in a broader sense than just the accumulation of knowledge. It also meant developing the ability “to make the right political decisions and to recognize false doctrines as such.”

In 1910, he also donated one million German marks to Stuttgart Polytechnic in aid of research and teaching — and to help train technically skilled youngsters for work at his company.

The entrance and side wing of Stuttgart Polytechnic, inscribed with the words “Royal Polytechnic” (1900). © Stadtarchiv Stuttgart
The entrance and side wing of Stuttgart Polytechnic, inscribed with the words “Royal Polytechnic” (1900). © Stadtarchiv Stuttgart

 

The “Society to Support Public Education,” the predecessor to the adult education center, was founded in Stuttgart on May 1, 1918. This was only made possible by a collaborative effort between the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Culture and Robert Bosch. Bosch offered annual funding for the association and to provide office space free of charge.

Theodore Bäuerle (1882–1956), who would later become the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Culture, set up the association and managed it until it was dissolved in 1936 (c. 1955).
Theodore Bäuerle (1882–1956), who would later become the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Culture, set up the association and managed it until it was dissolved in 1936 (c. 1955).

Robert Bosch had a keen interest in the press, which led him to acquire holdings in and support the activities of newspaper, magazine, and book publishers. Robert Bosch’s main incentive for his involvement in the press was to provide political enlightenment and educate the masses. Freedom of the press and high-quality reporting were important to him.

Left: In 1912, Robert Bosch procured the newspaper “Die Lese”, which was originally intended for a lower-class readership, 1920. Right: He also gave a donation to the social-democratic newspaper “Schwäbische Tagwacht” in 1916, even though it did not always cast a positive light on his company, 1913.
Left: In 1912, Robert Bosch procured the newspaper “Die Lese”, which was originally intended for a lower-class readership, 1920. Right: He also gave a donation to the social-democratic newspaper “Schwäbische Tagwacht” in 1916, even though it did not always cast a positive light on his company, 1913.
Left: In 1919, Bosch supported the Friedrich Naumann’s magazine “Die Hilfe,” which aimed to politically educate young people (1922). Right: Bosch financed the journal “Hippokrates,” which sought to combine conventional and alternative medicine (1936).
Left: In 1919, Bosch supported the Friedrich Naumann’s magazine “Die Hilfe,” which aimed to politically educate young people (1922). Right: Bosch financed the journal “Hippokrates,” which sought to combine conventional and alternative medicine (1936).
Left: The “Stuttgarter Neues Tagblatt” was owned by Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, in which Bosch acquired shares between 1917-1920 (1930). Right: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt’s office premises were housed in Stuttgart’s ‘Tagblatt-Turm’ tower block (1919). © Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg (lmz-bw.de)
Left: The “Stuttgarter Neues Tagblatt” was owned by Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, in which Bosch acquired shares between 1917–1920 (1930). Right: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt’s office premises were housed in Stuttgart’s ‘Tagblatt-Turm’ tower block (1919). © Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg (lmz-bw.de)

Supplement

Supplement 1: Robert Bosch — His life and works

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Company history